December 30, 2016

John Slayton

   Johann Friedrich Schlobohm, also recorded as John Slaburn, John Slayton, John Slighton, John Sleightson, John Slader and John Sladon, was born December 10, 1807 in Hanover, Lower Saxony, Germany. As was the case with Henry Tierwester, his last name was easily misspelled, so he was given various names in his legal and military records, making him somewhat difficult to track. What we know as fact is that he arrived in Texas in 1825 and settled near the Liberty/Harris County line.

   He enlisted in the Texian army on March 6, 1836 (where the muster rolls listed him as John Slaburn, John Sleightson and John Slighton) and was assigned to Captain William Mitchell Logan's Company of Liberty Volunteers (where the company rolls listed him as either John Slayton or John Slighton). He fought at the Battle of San Jacinto on April 21 and left the service on June 6, 1836. Three days later, he reenlisted for a period of seventeen months, leaving the army for good on November 4, 1837. He was awarded several land grants for his service, most of which he sold off to an A.B. Grant, and settled in what is now eastern Harris County. Schlobohm died at his home on September 25, 1882. His gravestone records his last name with the correct spelling.

29° 54.992, -095° 19.679

Schlobohm Cemetery

December 27, 2016

Bonnie Parker

   Bonnie Parker, outlaw partner of Clyde Barrow, was born at Rowena, Texas, on October 1, 1910, to Henry and Emma Parker. She had an older brother, Hubert (Buster), and a younger sister, Billie. Her father, a bricklayer, died in 1914, and Emma Parker moved the family to "Cement City" in West Dallas to live closer to relatives. In the public schools Bonnie was an honor student. She enjoyed writing poetry and reading romance novels. At four-feet-ten and eighty-five pounds, she hardly looked like a future legendary criminal. In 1926 she married her longtime sweetheart, Roy Thornton. For the next several years, they suffered a tumultuous marriage; however, she refused to divorce him. Bonnie worked at Marco's Cafe in Dallas until the cafe closed in November 1929. About this time Thornton was sent to prison for a five-year sentence. Bonnie had "Roy and Bonnie" tattooed above her right knee to commemorate her marriage to Thornton.

   She met Barrow in January 1930. Their romance was interrupted when Barrow was jailed a month later. During this time she wrote to him pleading with him to stay out of trouble upon his release. In early March she smuggled into his cell a pistol, which he used to escape. He was recaptured in Middletown, Ohio, after a robbery and sent to Eastham Prison Farm in Crockett on April 21, 1930. He was released in February 1932, more bent on destruction than before; and Bonnie was more determined than ever to prove her loyalty to him, even to the extent of assuming his manner of living.

   Upon his release Parker and Barrow began robbing grocery stores, filling stations, and small banks. In March 1932 Bonnie was captured in a failed robbery attempt and jailed in Kaufman, Texas. Clyde murdered merchant J. W. Butcher of Hillsboro on April 27, 1932. On June 17, 1932, the grand jury met in Kaufman and no-billed Bonnie, thus securing her release. Within a few weeks she connected with Clyde. Once again, they were on the run. The couple killed two officers in Atoka, Oklahoma, where they had attended a dance and were apprehended in the parking lot. For a while they swept through the Midwest and Southwest challenging the law in Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Missouri. They gunned down a grocery-store owner in Sherman, Texas, a citizen in Temple, and another law officer in Dallas. Law enforcement agencies from several states initiated a manhunt but to no avail.

   The couple temporarily settled down in a small stone bungalow in Joplin, Missouri, with Barrow's brother and sister-in-law. Not surprisingly, they were rowdy residents, and the neighbors began complaining to the police. Suspicious that this could be the Barrow gang, the officers promptly responded. Upon their arrival they were met by the four inhabitants and a barrage of bullets. After a bloody shoot-out, Bonnie and Clyde escaped. They left behind two more dead lawmen and six rolls of film, from which many of the famous photographs of the couple came.

   Bonnie and Clyde traveled constantly, throughout Kansas, Missouri, Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Iowa, Illinois, and Arkansas. On June 10, 1933, Bonnie was burned after their car rolled over an embankment near Wellington, Texas, and was treated at a nearby farmhouse. Officials sent to investigate were kidnapped and later freed in Oklahoma. Near Alma, Arkansas, the two killed the town marshal. Later, their gang holed up in Platte City, Missouri. In yet another bloody face-off with the law, Clyde's brother was killed, and his sister-in-law was taken into custody. In January 1934 Parker and Barrow helped their buddy Raymond Hamilton escape from Eastham Farm, and a guard was killed. At this time the head of the Texas prison system and the governor hired former Texas Ranger captain Francis (Frank) Hamer to track down the couple. By the middle of 1934 Hamer and his associates had begun to follow Bonnie and Clyde.

   One of the couple's most blatant murders occurred on Easter Sunday, 1934, on the outskirts of Grapevine, Texas. According to a witness, a Ford halted alongside a public highway. The occupants of the vehicle, laughing and talking among themselves, tossed whiskey bottles out of the windows. When the two highway patrolmen stopped their motorcycles to check on the "stalled" car, the people in the car leveled guns at the officers and opened fire. Bonnie reportedly walked over to one of the officers and rolled him over with one foot, raised her sawed-off shotgun, fired two more shots, point-blank, at the officer's head and exclaimed, "look-a-there, his head bounced just like a rubber ball." Less than a week later, on April 6, 1934, Parker and Barrow committed their last murder by killing a constable in Commerce, Oklahoma. Afterward they were in continuous flight, with law officers in pursuit. They drove into a trap near their hide-out at Black Lake, Louisiana, on May 23, 1934, at 9:15 A.M. and were gunned down in a barrage of 167 bullets. Bonnie Parker was found riddled with bullets, holding a machine gun, a sandwich, and a pack of cigarettes; Clyde Barrow, barely recognizable, was clutching a revolver. The car was taken to Arcadia, Louisiana, and the bodies were later delivered to Dallas. Thousands viewed the mangled bodies and the car of the legendary lovers. Finally, amid public clamor and hysteria, the bodies were buried in their respective families' burial plots. Source

32° 52.045, -096° 51.835

Block 4
Crown Hill Memorial Park

December 23, 2016

Henry Larkin Chapman

   Born July 20, 1812 to Henry and Lavinia Mobley Chapman, Henry came to Texas in 1834. He settled in what is now Nacogdoches County and practiced law. During the Texas Revolution, he signed up with the Texas militia as a volunteer on March 8, 1836 and assigned to Captain L. Smith's Company as a private. Smith's company was stationed near Harrisburg on April 8 when they were ordered by David Thomas, the ad interim secretary of war, to report to the commander-in-chief of the army. They reached General Sam Houston on April 12, and nine days later, fought at the Battle of San Jacinto as a part of Captain Hayden Arnold's Company. On June 27, he re-enlisted for another three months under Captain William Rufus C. Hays. Once he was discharged, he returned home to his practice and later served as the Justice of the Peace for Nacogdoches County from 1841 to 1843. Chapman died in Nacogdoches County on September 12, 1887 and was buried in Fairview Cemetery.

31° 34.462, -094° 35.197

Fairview Church Cemetery

December 20, 2016

Stevie Ray Vaughan

   Stevie Ray Vaughan, blues musician and guitar legend, was born in the Oak Cliff section of Dallas on October 3, 1954, to Jim and Martha Vaughan. Stevie's exposure to music began in his childhood, as he watched his big brother, Jimmie, play guitar. Stevie's fascination with the blues drove him to teach himself to play the guitar before he was an adolescent.

   By the time Vaughan was in high school, he was staying up all night, playing guitar in clubs in Deep Ellum in Dallas. In his sophomore year he enrolled in an experimental arts program at Southern Methodist University for artistically gifted high school students, but the program did not motivate him to stay in school, and he dropped out before graduation in order to play music full-time.

   By 1972, at the age of seventeen, Stevie moved to Austin, in an attempt to become involved in the music scene. Over the next few years he slept on pool tables and couches in the back of clubs and collected bottles to earn money for new guitar strings. He joined the Nightcrawlers, a blues band formed by Doyle Bramhall with Marc Benno. Doyle Bramhall (1949-2011), who went on to secure his own reputation as a renowned drummer and singer-songwriter, had performed with Stevie’s brother Jimmie in Dallas in their band the Chessmen, and the two later organized the band Texas Storm in Austin. In the Nightcrawlers, Stevie Vaughan played guitar and, impressed by Bramhall’s gravelly soul vocals, adopted that singing style as his own. Bramhall would write or co-write a number of songs that Vaughan would later record, including Dirty Pool, Change It, The House is Rockin’, and Life by the Drop.

   By 1975 Vaughan was playing with another Austin group, Paul Ray and the Cobras. With the opening of Antone’s blues club later that year, he also found an ally in club owner Clifford Antone. Vaughan’s performance with guitarist Albert King onstage at Antone’s, for example, earned him the respect of the blues legend. Recognition outside of Austin, however, eluded him. Vaughan left the Cobras and by the late 1970s was in a group that included Lou Ann Barton, W. C. Clark, and others and was known as Triple Threat. This group eventually evolved into Double Trouble, with Barton, bassist Jackie Newhouse, and drummer Chris Layton. Barton left the band, and Tommy Shannon replaced Newhouse. Keyboardist Reese Wynans came on board in 1985.

   By the early 1980s the group had built a solid following in Texas and was beginning to attract the attention of well-established musicians like Mick Jagger, who in 1982 invited Vaughan and the band to play at a private party in New York City. That same year Double Trouble received an invitation to play at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. They were the first band in the history of the festival to play without having a major record contract. The performance was seen by David Bowie and Jackson Browne, and Stevie gained even more acclaim as a talented and rising young musician. Browne invited Vaughan to his Los Angeles studio for a demo session, at which Stevie and Double Trouble recorded some tracks for what eventually became his 1983 debut album, Texas Flood. Bowie had Vaughan play lead guitar on his album Let's Dance.

   Vaughan's fame immediately soared. The band signed a record contract with CBS/Epic Records and came to the attention of veteran blues and rock producer John Hammond, Sr. Texas Flood received a North American Rock Radio Awards nomination for Favorite Debut Album, and Guitar Player Magazine Reader's Poll voted Stevie Best New Talent and Best Electric Blues Guitarist for 1983. A track off the album also received a Grammy nomination for Best Rock Instrumental performance.

   Vaughan's subsequent albums met with increased popularity and critical attention. Double Trouble followed Texas Flood with Couldn't Stand the Weather (1984), Live Alive (1985), and Soul to Soul (1986). All of the albums went gold and captured various Grammy nominations in either the blues or rock categories. Throughout the 1980s Vaughan and his band also became consistent nominees and winners of the Austin Chronicle's music awards and Guitar Player Magazine's reader's polls. In 1984, at the National Blues Foundation Awards, Vaughan became the first white man to win Entertainer of the Year and Blues Instrumentalist of the Year. At the Grammys that year he shared in the Best Traditional Blues honors for his work on Blues Explosion, a compilation album of various artists.

   Although he rapidly gained prestige and success in the music world, Stevie also lived the stereotypical life of a rock-and-roll star, full of alcohol and drug abuse. On his 1986 European tour he collapsed and eventually checked into a rehabilitation center in Georgia. He left the hospital sober and committed to the Twelve Step program of Alcoholics Anonymous. Following his recovery, he released his fifth album, In Step, in 1989. It won him a second Grammy, this time for Best Contemporary Blues Recording. In 1990 Vaughan collaborated with Jimmie Vaughan, his brother and founding member of the Fabulous Thunderbirds, on Family Style, which also included their friend and musical colleague Doyle Bramhall on drums. The album was released after Stevie's death. This last album brought Stevie's career total of Grammys to four. After his death Epic records released two more albums of his work, The Sky is Crying (1991) and In the Beginning (1992). The Sky is Crying went on to win a Grammy for Best Contemporary Blues Album.

   Stevie married Lenny Bailey in 1980, and they divorced in 1986, when he was at the low point of his struggle with drug and alcohol abuse. At the time of his death, he had a girlfriend, Janna Lapidus. Vaughan died on August 27, 1990, in a helicopter crash on the way to Chicago from a concert in Alpine Valley, East Troy, Wisconsin. The location of the concert was difficult to reach, so many performers stayed in Chicago and flew in before the show. Dense fog contributed to the pilot's flying the helicopter into the side of a man-made ski mountain. All on board were killed instantly. More than 1,500 people, including industry giants such as Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, and Stevie Wonder, attended Stevie's memorial service in Dallas. He is buried at Laurel Land Memorial Park in South Dallas.

   Governor Ann Richards proclaimed October 3, 1991, as "Stevie Ray Vaughan Day." The city of Austin erected a memorial statue of Stevie Ray Vaughan on November 21, 1993, by Town Lake (renamed Lady Bird Lake), near the site of his last Austin concert. On May 11, 1995, musicians, including B. B. King, Eric Clapton, Bonnie Raitt, Buddy Guy, Jimmie Vaughan, and Double Trouble, filmed Tribute to Stevie Ray Vaughan for Austin City Limits. The PBS program also released a posthumous video titled Stevie Ray Vaughan: Live From Austin, Texas, which contained excerpts from Vaughan's two previous appearances on the show. From 1995 through 2007 Sony Music issued several Vaughan and Double Trouble albums, including a box set, live performances, and previously unreleased material. In 2000 Vaughan was inducted into the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame. He is also in the Houston Institute for Culture's Texas Music Hall of Fame. He was inducted into the Austin Music Memorial in 2010. Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble were inaugural inductees into the Austin City Limits Hall of Fame in 2014. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2015. Source

32° 40.417, -096° 48.774

Vaughan Estates
Laurel Land Memorial Park

December 16, 2016

James S. Patterson

   James S. Patterson was born August 10, 1800.  The census of 1850 and 1870 both give Maryland as his place of birth although his gravestone is inscribed “a native of Kentucky”.  When he was about 10 years old, his father died and his mother remarried.  He was then apprenticed to a hatter but ran away when he was 12 years old.  He made his way to Louisiana, when and by what route is not known, where he claimed to have lived and worked with the followers of the pirate Jean LaFitte.

   He stated under oath that he came to Texas in the fall of the year that Stephen F. Austin came to Texas; his gravestone is inscribed “and emigrated to Texas in 1822”.  He said that he helped build the first house in San Felipe, Stephen F. Austin’s first colony in Texas.  He lived and worked in the Matagorda and Brazoria areas as a farmer, stockman, and a teamster, and could speak fluent French and Spanish.  James S. Patterson was approximately 6 feet tall, had sandy hair, blue or grey eyes, and, generally was not regarded as a handsome man.

   In 1836 when the Mexican Army approached the town of Harrisburg (now within the city limits of Houston), he joined Sam Houston’s army, enlisting as a private in Co. I,  Captain William S. Fisher’s Company (Velasco Blues), with Colonel Millard Commander.  He participated in the Battle of San Jacinto, April 21, 1836, while a member of Capt. Fisher’s company.  He was wounded by a sword thrust above the knee but did not report as wounded and was not, therefore, listed among the casualties.  He enlisted for an additional three months after the Battle of San Jacinto.

   The wound in his knee bothered him a great deal and he returned to Louisiana, and in August 1843 married Eugenia Trahan  (born November 14, 1806 in either France or Louisiana).  They had two children, James W. Patterson (who fought in the Civil War with Hood’s Brigade) and Elvira J. Patterson.  He remained in Louisiana until he heard that Texas was giving land grants to those who had participated in the Battle of San Jacinto and other battles and also for service in the Texas Army.

   He returned to Texas before 1850 and petitioned the Texas Legislature for the land grants (the date to apply for such grants having expired before he was aware of them).  His petitions were granted and he was issued a head right certificate for one-third of a league of land; Donation Certificate Nr. 218 for 640 acres of land for having participated in the Battle of San Jacinto; and, Bounty Warrant Nr. 723 for 320 acres for “3 months service” in the Army of the Republic of Texas. He was issued the 640 acres on August 26, 1850; he was living in Milam County, when on October 6 1851, he sold the certificate of land to Nathan Halbert for $64.00. He could not write but affixed his mark to the deed of transfer. It is probable that he sold the other parcels of land as well, as they are no longer owned by any descendents.  He applied for a pension as a surviving veteran of the Texas War of Independence and this was granted December 21, 1870, Certificate Nr. 173.

   He was in Goliad, Texas, in the early 1860’s but by 1870 he and Eugenia were residing in Austin.  He suffered from the "gravels" and died November 8, 1872.  He is buried at Oakwood Cemetery with his wife Eugenia at his side.

30° 16.528, -097° 43.580

Section 1
Oakwood Cemetery

December 13, 2016

Frank Mancuso

   Born May 23, 1918 in Houston, Texas, Frank Octavius Mancuso began playing baseball in 1937 in the minor league system of the New York Giants. After hitting .417 for Fort Smith in 1938, the Giants moved him up to their major league roster for the entire 1939 season as a third string catcher, but he did not get into a single game during the regular season. That disappointment was offset by the opportunity he had to warm up pitcher Carl Hubbell, and sharing the company of other great Giants like OF Mel Ott and manager Bill Terry. He was sent back to the minors before the 1940 season.

   After hitting .300 or more in three minor league seasons, Mancuso entered the U.S. Army as a paratrooper at Fort Benning, Georgia in December 1942. In 1943, he suffered a broken back and leg when his chute opened late and improperly. He almost died from his injuries and was subsequently discharged from the service for medical reasons. A part of his injury was an unfortunate condition for a catcher, where in looking straight up caused him to lose the flow of oxygen to the brain, and he would pass out. As a result, he never regained all of his mobility after the parachute jump and was never responsible for catching pop-ups.

   Mancuso spent the rest of his life with back and legs pains, but he worked himself back into shape and returned to baseball in 1944 as one of two catchers for the only St. Louis Browns club to ever win an American League pennant. He shared duties with Red Hayworth, hitting .205 with one home run and 24 RBI in 88 games. The Browns lost to the St. Louis Cardinals in the 1944 World Series in six games, but Mancuso hit .667 and collected one RBI in injury-limited pinch-hitting duty. His most productive season came in 1945, when he posted career-numbers in games (119), batting average (.268), RBI (38) and runs (39). In 1946 he hit .240 with a career-high three home runs in 87 games. He played his last major-league season with the Washington Senators in 1947 at the age of 29.

   From 1948 to 1955, Mancuso earned further respect as a catcher for top minor league clubs like Toledo and Beaumont, among others, and with the 1953 Houston Buffs, a minors club that preceded the Colt .45s & Astros. He also played winter baseball in the Venezuelan League during the 1950-51 and 1951-52 seasons. In his first season, he hit .407 with 49 RBI and also became the first player in the league to hit 10 home runs in a 42-game schedule. In a four-year major league career, Mancuso played in 337 games, accumulating 241 hits in 1,002 at bats for a .241 career batting average along with 5 home runs, 98 runs batted in and a .314 on-base percentage. He posted a ,987 fielding percentage as a catcher. In his seventeen-year minor league career, he played in 1,267 games, accumulating 1,087 hits in 3,936 at bats for a .276 career batting average along with 128 home runs.

   After baseball retirement, Mancuso served for 30 consecutive years (1963-93) on the Houston City Council. During his political life, he gave of himself generously to the needs of the young people and to causes benefiting disadvantaged children. He also supported the creation of Lake Livingston and Lake Conroe reservoir to meet the city's long-term water needs, the construction of Houston Intercontinental Airport, and was chairmanship of a special committee that recommended the Houston Fire Department have its own ambulance service.  In the late 1990s, Harris County built the Frank Mancuso Sports Complex, a facility that reaches out to the needs of inner city kids, in his honor. His 2003 induction into the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame reunited him with his older brother, Gus Mancuso (1905-1984), as the second member of the family to be inducted. Mancuso died August 4, 2007 in Pasadena, Texas at the age of 89. Source

29° 42.903, -095° 18.129

Section 55
Forest Park Lawndale Cemetery

December 9, 2016

Owen Ozwin Wilcox

   Owen Wilcox was born in Connecticut in 1809 and arrived in Texas in early 1836. Almost immediately, he enlisted in the Texian revolutionary army and was assigned to Captain William H. Patton's Company, with whom he he served during the Battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836. He was transferred to Captain Benjamin F. Reavill's Company on July 1, then transferred again on October 1 to Captain William D. Burnett's Company. He left the service on December 1, 1836 and resided in Travis County. Wilcox died in Austin on April 5, 1879 and buried in Oakwood Cemetery.

30° 16.488, -097° 43.673

Section 1
Oakwood Cemetery

December 6, 2016

Lisa Gaye

   Born Leslie Gaye Griffin on March 6, 1935 in Denver, Colorado, Lisa came from a show-business family. Her mother, Marguerite, performed in vaudeville theaters and nightclubs as Margaret Allen, and Lisa's three siblings all went into acting - sister Debralee, who became Debra Paget; sister Marcia, who became Teala Loring; and brother Frank, who spent a decade as an actor before becoming a leading make-up artist.

   When Marcia landed a film contract with Paramount, the family moved to Los Angeles and Leslie was taught dancing and acting at the Hollywood Professional School. She made her stage début as a dancer in The Merry Wives of Windsor, starring Charles Coburn, at the Los Angeles Biltmore Theatre. At the start of her Universal contract in January 1953 (her mother insisted that she and her sister work for different studios to avoid competition) she adopted the stage name Lisa Gaye and was given lessons in drama, singing, dancing, fencing and horse riding.

   She made her feature-film debut in a bit part in The Glenn Miller Story (1954) as one of a mob of teenagers. She was Audie Murphy’s reserved fiancée in Drums Across the River (1954), co-starred in Shake Rattle and Rock (1956) and seemed well on her way to mainstream success; however, the studio dropped her after little more than two years, partially because a back injury meant that she had to wear a brace. Gaye left the studio system and appeared alongside Dean Martin in Ten Thousand Bedrooms (1957), in which she dances to an Italian version of Rock Around the Clock. In La Cara del Terror (1962), a Spanish thriller, she played an escaped asylum patient whose disfigured face is restored to beauty by Fernando Rey’s pioneering doctor - until the serum wears off, of course. Night of Evil (1962) gave Gaye her only top billing, as a raped high-school cheerleader who becomes a stripper, then commits armed robbery. Night of Evil received dismal reviews on release and she decided to seek other outlets for her acting.

   She broke into television in the mid-50s, first in small cameo roles in sitcoms like The Burns and Allen Show, but it was in Westerns that Gaye found her niche. Her horse-riding experience proved invaluable as she dipped into episodes of more than 20 popular series, from Annie Oakley (1956), Northwest Passage (1958), Cheyenne (1960), Rawhide (1960), Maverick (1961) and The Wild Wild West (1966-1967). In Death Valley Days alone, between 1960 and 1969, she acted in 10 different roles.

   In 1955, Lisa married Bently Ware, a business executive, and in 1970 retired from acting to raise their daughter, Janell. Following her husband's death from a heart attack in 1977, she moved to Houston, where she worked for nineteen years as a receptionist at KETH Channel 14, a local religious television station. Lisa Gaye passed away on July 14, 2016 and encrypted at the Houston National Cemetery.

29° 55.837, -095° 26.765

Section C-14
Houston National Cemetery

December 2, 2016

Matthew Winston Cartwright

   Born January 22, 1815, in Washington County, Alabama, Matthew arrived in Texas December 22, 1832 after his father Peter bought some property there. He took part in some early engagements of the Texas revolution, notably at the Storming and Capture of Bexar, (December 5 - 10, 1835) as a member of Joseph L. Bennett's Company. He left the service on December 24 and returned to his father's farm in what is now Montgomery County. he and his brother William enlisted in the Texas army on April 12, 1836. Nine days later, as a member of William Ware's Company, both William and Matthew fought at the Battle of San Jacinto. The two left the army on the same day, June 13, 1836. Cartwright died December 4, 1884 and buried in the Cartwright family cemetery. The State of Texas erected a monument at his grave in 1936.

30° 20.630, -095° 38.127

Rabon Chapel Cemetery

November 29, 2016

Stephen William Blount

   Stephen William Blount, signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence, soldier, and county official, son of Stephen William and Elizabeth (Winn) Blount, was born in Burke County, Georgia, on February 13, 1808. He was elected colonel of the Eighth Regiment of Georgia Militia in 1833, served as deputy sheriff and sheriff of Burke County for four years, and was an aide-de-camp to Brig. Gen. Robert Tootle and Maj. Gen. David Taylor from 1832 to 1834. He arrived in Texas in August 1835 and settled at San Augustine. He was one of the three representatives from San Augustine at the Convention of 1836 at Washington-on-the-Brazos and there signed the Declaration of Independence. On March 17, 1836, when the convention adjourned, he returned to San Augustine and joined the Texas army in the company of Capt. William D. Ratcliff. He reached San Jacinto the day after the battle had been fought. Blount returned to the United States and in Alabama, sometime after February 1, 1838, married Mrs. Mary Landon Lacy; they had eight children. Blount brought his wife to Texas in 1839.

   He was the first county clerk of San Augustine County and from 1846 to 1849 was postmaster at San Augustine. He was a delegate to the Democratic state convention in 1850 and to the national Democratic convention at Cincinnati in 1876. He acquired 60,000 acres, on which he raised cotton. During the Civil War he was fiscal agent for the Confederate States of America. He was a charter member of Redland Lodge No. 3 at San Augustine, and a member of the Episcopal Church. He was vice president of the United Confederate Veterans when he died, on February 7, 1890. He was buried at San Augustine. An oil portrait of Blount by Stephen Seymour Thomas was presented to the Dallas Historical Society and placed on exhibit in the Hall of State in 1950. Source

31° 31.936, -094° 06.582

San Augustine City Cemetery
San Augustine

November 25, 2016

William Peter Cartwright

   Born March 16, 1813, in Washington County, Alabama, William arrived in Texas December 22, 1832 after his father Peter bought some property there. He lived in what is now Montgomery County and worked his father's farm with his brother Matthew until the two siblings enlisted in the Texas army on April 12, 1836. Nine days later, as a member of William Ware's Company, both William and Matthew fought at the Battle of San Jacinto. William stayed in the army until July 13, when he was discharged just outside of Victoria. He passed away on October 25, 1844 and buried in the Cartwright family cemetery. The State of Texas erected a monument at his grave in 1936.

30° 20.629, -095° 38.131

Rabon Chapel Cemetery

November 22, 2016

Mary Kay

   Business leader and entrepreneur Mary Kathlyn Wagner was born on May 12, 1918, in Hot Wells, Texas. Ash was a pioneer for women in business, building a substantial cosmetics empire. In 1939, Ash became as a salesperson for Stanley Home Products, hosting parties to encourage people to buy household items. She was so good at making the sale that she was hired away by another company, World Gifts, in 1952. Ash spent a little more than a decade at the company, but she quit in protest after watching yet another man that she had trained get promoted above her and earn a much higher salary than hers.

   After her bad experiences in the traditional workplace, Ash set out to create her own business at the age of 45. She started with an initial investment of $5,000 in 1963. She purchased the formulas for skin lotions from the family of a tanner who created the products while he worked on hides. With her son, Richard Rogers, she opened a small store in Dallas and had nine salespeople working for her. Today there are more than 1.6 million salespeople working for Mary Kay Inc. around the world.

   The company turned a profit in its first year and sold close to $1 million in products by the end of its second year driven by Ash's business acumen and philosophy. The basic premise was much like the products she sold earlier in her career. Her cosmetics were sold through at-home parties and other events. But Ash strove to make her business different by employing incentive programs and not having sales territories for her representatives. She believed in the golden rule "treat others as you want to be treated," and operated by the motto: God first, family second and career third.

   Ash wanted everyone in the organization to have the opportunity to benefit from their successes. Sales representatives - she called them consultants - bought the products from May Kay at wholesale prices and then sold them at retail price to their customers. They could also earn commissions from new consultants that they had recruited. All of her marketing skills and people savvy helped make Mary Kay Cosmetics a very lucrative business. The company went public in 1968, but it was bought back by Ash and her family in 1985 when the stock price took a hit. The business itself remained successful and now annual sales exceed $2.2 billion, according to the company's website.

   At the heart of this profitable organization was Ash's enthusiastic personality. She was known for her love of the color pink and it could be found everywhere, from the product packaging to the Cadillacs she gave away to top-earning consultants each year. She seemed to sincerely value her consultants, and once said "People are a company's greatest asset. Her approach to business attracted a lot of interest. She was admired for her strategies and the results they achieved. She wrote several books about her experiences, including Mary Kay: The Success Story of America's Most Dynamic Businesswoman (1981), Mary Kay on People Management (1984) and Mary Kay: You Can Have It All (1995). While she stepped down from her position as CEO of the company in 1987, she remained an active part of the business. She established the Mary Kay Charitable Foundation in 1996. The foundation supports cancer research and efforts to end domestic violence. In 2000, she was named the most outstanding woman in business in the 20th century by Lifetime Television.

   Married three times, Ash had three children - Richard, Ben and Marylyn - by her first husband, J. Ben Rogers. The two divorced after Rogers returned from serving in World War II. Her second marriage to a chemist was brief; he died of a heart attack in 1963, just one month after the two had gotten married. She married her third husband, Mel Ash, in 1966, and the couple stayed together until Mel's death in 1980. The cosmetics mogul died on November 22, 2001, in Dallas, Texas. By this time, the company she created had become a worldwide enterprise with representatives in more than 30 markets.

32° 52.102, -096° 46.847

Hillcrest Mausoleum
Sparkman-Hillcrest Memorial Park

November 18, 2016

Job Starks Collard

   Born in Missouri, March 21, 1813, Job Collard came to Texas in August 1833. He enlisted in the revolutionary army on March 1, 1836 for a three month stint as a member of William Ware's Company. He fought at the Battle of San Jacinto, served out the rest of his contract, then re-enlisted and commanded a company until at least September 30, 1836. he was married twice; first to Elizabeth Robinson, with whom he had five children, then after her death, married Sarah James, who bore him four more children. They lived in Danville, Montgomery County until Collard's death on June 1, 1867. He was buried next to his first wife Elizabeth, and upon the death of his second wife Sarah on August 7, 1883, she was laid next to him as well.

30° 56.735, -095° 55.255

Madisonville City Cemetery

November 15, 2016

Richard Bennett Hubbard

   Richard Bennett (Dick) Hubbard, Jr., governor of Texas and diplomat, son of Richard Bennett and Serena (Carter) Hubbard, was born in Walton County, Georgia, on November 1, 1832. He spent his formative years in rural Jasper County, Georgia. He graduated from Mercer Institute (now Mercer University) in 1851 with an A.B. degree in literature and was elected National University Orator, a high honor at Mercer. He briefly attended lectures at the University of Virginia, then went to Harvard, where he was awarded the LL.B. in 1853. Later that year he and his parents moved to Smith County, Texas, where they settled in Tyler and then on a plantation near the site of Lindale. Hubbard first entered politics in 1855, when he opposed the American (Know-Nothing) party. In the 1856 presidential election he supported James Buchanan, who appointed him United States district attorney for the western district of Texas, a position he resigned in 1859 to run for the state legislature. He served in the Eighth Legislature, where he supported secession. After his failure to win election to the Confederate States Congress from the Fifth District, he recruited men for the Confederate forces. During the Civil War he commanded the Twenty-second Texas Infantry regiment and served in the Trans-Mississippi Department in Arkansas and Louisiana.

   Hubbard's postwar law practice, supplemented by income from real estate and railroad promotion, enabled him to resume his political career by 1872, when he was chosen presidential elector on the Horace Greeley ticket. He was elected lieutenant governor in 1873 and 1876 and succeeded to the governorship on December 1, 1876, when Richard Coke resigned to become a United States senator. Hubbard's gubernatorial term was marked by post-Reconstruction financial difficulties, by general lawlessness, and by the fact that the legislature was never in session during his administration. Though political opponents prevented his nomination for a second term, he remained popular with the people of Texas. His accomplishments as governor include reducing the public debt, fighting land fraud, promoting educational reforms, and restoring public control of the state prison system. When he left the governorship in 1879 he was the object of acrimonious political and personal attacks. In 1884 Hubbard served as temporary chairman of the Democratic national nominating convention. He campaigned vigorously for the party nominee, Grover Cleveland, who appointed him minister to Japan in 1885. His oratory gained him the cognomen "Demosthenes of Texas." His four years in Japan marked a delicate transitional period in Japanese-American relations. Under American and European influences, Japan was emerging from feudalism and dependency and had begun to insist on recognition as a diplomatic equal, a position Hubbard strongly supported. He concluded with Japan an extradition treaty, and his preliminary work on the general treaty revisions provided the basis for the revised treaties of 1894-99. When he returned to the United States in 1889, he wrote a book based upon his diplomatic experience, The United States in the Far East, which was published in 1899.

   Hubbard was a Freemason, a member of the Smith County Agricultural and Mechanical Society, and a member of the board of directors of Texas A&M. In 1876 he was chosen Centennial Orator of Texas to represent the state at the World's Exposition in Philadelphia. There he urged national unity and goodwill in an acclaimed oration. Hubbard was a Baptist. He was first married to Eliza B. Hudson, daughter of Dr. G. C. Hudson of Lafayette, Alabama, on November 30, 1858; one daughter of this marriage, Serena, survived. Hubbard's second marriage, on November 26, 1869, was to Janie Roberts, daughter of Willis Roberts of Tyler. Janie died during Hubbard's mission to Japan, leaving him a second daughter, Searcy. Hubbard lived his final years in Tyler, where he died on July 12, 1901. He is buried in Oakwood Cemetery, Tyler. Hubbard in Hill County is named for him. Source

32° 21.218, -095° 18.556

Oakwood Cemetery

November 11, 2016

John C. Hale

   John C. Hale, early settler and soldier in the Texas revolution, was born on April 3, 1806, in Virginia; he came to Texas from Louisiana and settled in what became San Augustine County in the Sabine District. He was elected first lieutenant of Capt. Benjamin Franklin Bryant's Company K of Col. Sidney Sherman's Second Regiment, Texas Volunteers. He was killed in action at the battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836, and buried at the battlefield. Hale County is named in his honor. Hale's heirs received grants of 320 acres on May 24, 1850, 640 acres on November 8, 1851, and 640 acres on May 24, 1850. Hale was married to Barshaba (Miller). After his death she married Samuel H. Davis, administrator of Hale's estate. Source

Note: This is a cenotaph. In 1881, a decision was made to place permanent memorials at the graves of those men who had been killed in the Battle of San Jacinto and buried on the battlefield. It was discovered, however, that all of the original wooden grave markers, except for Benjamin Brigham's, had rotted away and no one could remember exactly where the others rested. As a compromise, since the soldiers had been buried closely together, it was decided to place a cenotaph over Brigham's grave as a memorial to all of them.

29° 45.232, -095° 05.363

San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site
La Porte

November 8, 2016

William Homer Thornberry

   William Homer Thornberry was born on January 9, 1909, in Austin, Texas, to Mary L. and William N. Thornberry, teachers in the State School for the Deaf and themselves deaf. He attended public schools in Austin, graduated from Austin High School in 1927. He received his BBA in 1932, and his LLB in 1936 from the University of Texas. In 1954, he received an Honorary Doctorate of Law from Gallaudet College, Washington, D.C. He served as a Member in the House of Representatives, Legislature of Texas, in 1937-1941. He was in private practice of law from 1936-1941 in the law firm of Powell, Wirtz, Rauhut and Gideon. During 1941-1942, he served as District Attorney in Travis County, resigning to serve in the Navy during World War II.

   Discharged from the Navy as Lieutenant Commander in 1946, he returned to Austin to re-enter the practice of law in partnership with the late Judge Herman Jones. He was a member of the City Council of Austin from 1946-1948, serving as Mayor pro tempore in 1947-1948. Thornberry was elected in 1948 to the 81st Session of the United States Congress as Representative of the 10th Congressional District of Texas. He was re-elected to each Congress until his resignation in December, 1963. During his time in Congress, he was a member of the Rules Committee of the House of Representatives from January of 1955, until his resignation.

   He was appointed by President John F. Kennedy as a United States District Judge for the Western District of Texas in 1963, and commissioned by President Lyndon B. Johnson, and sworn in as a United States Judge in El Paso, Texas, on December 21, 1963. He was appointed and commissioned by President Johnson as a United States Circuit Judge (Fifth Circuit) in 1965, and sworn into office as a Circuit Judge on July 3, 1965, at the LBJ Ranch. He took senior status December 21, 1978. During his service on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, he participated in decisions including many civil rights cases of the 1960s and 1970s. He served as a member of the Judicial Conference Committee to Implement the Criminal Justice Act from 1964 to 1979, and the Fifth Judicial Council Committee on Criminal Justice Act in 1967.

   Thornberry received the Boy Scouts of America Silver Beaver Award in 1948. He served as a board member of Gallaudet University, Washington, D.C. (the only senior college for the deaf in the world) from 1949 until his resignation from Congress, at which time he was named honorary life member of the Gallaudet Board. He was a Delegate-at-Large at the National Democratic Convention in 1956 and 1960. He was an Honorary Member of the Order of the Coif, an honorary legal organization and was chosen as a Distinguished Alumnus of the University of Texas in 1965. He was elected to the Austin High School Hall of Honor in May, 1983. He received the Leon Green Award from the Texas Law Review Association of the University of Texas School of Law in April, 1986. Judge Thornberry was a past member of the Texas Bar Association and a current member of the Travis County Bar Association. He was a member of the Texas Society of Sons of the American Revolution and a 33rd Degree KCCH Member of the Austin Scottish Rite Bodies. He was an honorary member of Kiwanis International, and served as Potentate of the Ben Hur Temple Shrine in 1948. He died peacefully at home in Austin on Tuesday, December 12, 1995. Source

30° 15.925, -097° 43.635

Republic Hill
Texas State Cemetery

November 4, 2016

John Milton Swisher

   John Milton Swisher, soldier, civil servant, and financier, was born on May 31, 1819, near Franklin in Williamson County, Tennessee, the son of Elizabeth (Boyd) and James Gibson Swisher. In 1833 he immigrated to Texas with his parents, who settled first in Milam Municipality. At age fourteen Swisher opened a school - what he referred to as an "ABC class" - at Tenoxtitlán, but quickly abandoned it to take up farming. The family remained at Tenoxtitlán from January until October 1834 and then, harassed by Indians, moved to Gay Hill in what is now Washington County. After learning of William B. Travis's appeal for assistance at the Alamo, Swisher and ten or twelve companions started on March 1, 1836, for San Antonio. They halted at Gonzales on March 5 and there, after Sam Houston arrived on March 10 to organize the army, became the core of Capt. William W. Hill's Company H of Col. Edward Burleson's First Regiment, Texas Volunteers. Harvey H. Swisher, John's uncle, was first lieutenant of the company. After taking part in the battle of San Jacinto, Swisher was discharged on May 30 at Victoria. Thereafter he clerked for a time in his father's Washington County store. By December 1836 he was working as recording clerk of the treasury department and in 1840 was promoted to chief clerk. In 1841 he was appointed a first lieutenant in the Republic of Texas Marine Corps, but resigned after a cruise to the Yucatán under Commodore Edwin W. Moore. Swisher served as chief clerk of the auditor's office at Washington-on-the-Brazos, as clerk of the Ninth Congress of the Republic of Texas, and as clerk of the Convention of 1845. In 1846 he was elected colonel of the first regiment of Thomas Green's brigade of Texas militia, and in January 1847 he raised a company of rangers for service in the Mexican War, but got no farther than San Antonio before the United States victory at Buena Vista made the company unnecessary. His younger brother, James Monroe Swisher, served as a private in Capt. Benjamin McCulloch's company of Col. John C. Hays's First Regiment, Texas Mounted Riflemen.

   In 1848 Swisher was appointed auditor of public accounts, and in 1852 he became a banker in Austin. On January 23, 1860, Governor Sam Houston appointed him paymaster of the Texas Rangers, a position he held until Texas seceded from the Union. Swisher was an ardent unionist, but after secession became an accomplished fact he threw his support behind the Confederacy. In 1862 he was sent to London to exchange Texas securities for war materials but was frustrated when the state's United States bonds were declared nonnegotiable. On promise of exchange for Texas cotton, he then ordered supplies delivered to Matamoros, but when he returned to Texas he was dismissed from his post on charges of unionist sympathies. Swisher nevertheless spent the remainder of the war in Matamoros as purchasing agent for Col. John S. Ford's Confederate forces. From 1865 until 1868 he ran a banking and commission house in Galveston. Then, after returning to Austin, he organized and until 1870 served as president of a stock company for the construction of the city's street-railway system. Swisher married Maria W. Sims, a native of Virginia, at Washington-on-the-Brazos on May 28, 1844; they had two children. Maria died on April 13, 1870, and Swisher married Helen "Nellie" A. Nickerson, a teacher at Medina, on January 1, 1873; they had two daughters. After Nellie's death in March 1875 Swisher married Bella French in Austin in October 1878. Swisher died on March 11, 1891, and was buried in Oakwood Cemetery, Austin. He was a Mason. His reminiscences of early Texas and the battle of San Jacinto are preserved in the Barker Texas History Center, University of Texas at Austin, and were published in a truncated version as Swisher's Memoirs by Mary R. Maverick Green in 1932. Source

30° 16.552, -097° 43.646

Section 1
Oakwood Cemetery

November 1, 2016

David Koresh

   David Koresh was born Vernon Wayne Howell to an unwed teenage mother named Bonnie Clark, on August 17, 1959, in Houston, Texas. Initially raised by his grandparents in the Dallas suburb of Garland, the young Koresh attended the Church of Seventh Day Adventists. In his senior year, Koresh dropped out of Garland High School to take a carpentry job. While in his early 20s, he spent a short time in Los Angeles trying to make it as a rock star. When he returned to Houston, the Seventh Day Adventists kicked him out of the church.

   In 1981, Koresh moved to Waco, Texas, and joined the Branch Davidians on their Mount Carmel compound. Koresh then had an affair with the sect's much older prophetess, Lois Roden. In 1984, he married a teenaged Branch Davidian named Rachel Jones, with whom he would have a son and two daughters. When Roden passed away, Koresh's and Roden's son, George, argued about who would take over the Branch Davidians. Koresh left the sect with his followers and lived in eastern Texas for a while. In 1987, he and a handful of his devotees returned to Mount Carmel heavily armed, and shot Roden. Roden survived. Koresh and his crew were tried for attempted murder, but were acquitted.

   In 1990, he legally changed his name from Howell to Koresh (after the Persian king) and became the Branch Davidians' leader. Koresh's teachings included the practice of "spiritual weddings" which enabled him to bed God-chosen female followers of all ages. Koresh had a dozen children with members other than his legal wife. As leader of the Branch Davidians, Koresh claimed he had cracked the code of the Seven Seals in the Book of Revelation, which predicted events leading to the apocalypse. He told his followers that the lord willed the Davidians to build an "Army of God." As a result, they started stockpiling weapons.

   On February 28, 1993, the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms raided the compound. A four-hour gunfight left six of Koresh's followers and four BATF agents dead. Believing he and the Davidians had opened the fifth seal of revelation, Koresh claimed it was time to kill God's faithful. The result was a 51-day stand-off between Koresh and federal agents, in the latter's attempt to free his hostages. On April 19, 1993, Koresh died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, after the Federal Bureau of Investigations launched a tank and tear gas assault on Mount Carmel. Source

32° 21.243, -095° 22.091

Last Supper Section
Memorial Park Cemetery

October 28, 2016

Willis Avery

   Willis Thomas Avery, Republic of Texas veteran and Texas Ranger, was born in North Carolina on October 15, 1809, to Vincent and Catherine Overton Avery. After the death of his father, Avery's mother married William McCutcheon, Sr. and moved to Lincoln County, Missouri. The McCutcheons had one son, William. While in Missouri, Avery met and married Elzina Weeks. Together, they had nine children, Nancy, Malinda, Vincent, Willis, Lucinda, Henry, Calvin, Harriet, and W.T. On November 12, 1832, the Avery's arrived in what is now Bastrop County.

   During Texas' fight for independence, Avery's step-father, Jennings, was said to have perished at the siege of the Alamo, while Avery joined Captain Jesse Billingsley's Company of Mina (Bastrop) Volunteers on February 28, 1836. The Mina Volunteers eventually became Company C of General Edward Burleson's regiment, fought at the Battle of San Jacinto. Company C was made up of settlers who lived in and around Bastrop County.

   Because of his service for Texas, Avery was issued, on May 22, 1838, 640 acres of land. On March 20, 1840, he also received another 320 acres for serving in the army from February 28 to June 1, 1836. Ultimately, the Averys moved to Williamson County and settled on Brushy Creek, near Rice's Crossing, where Elzina died on March 1, 1870. Willis died on July 17, 1889, and both were buried in the family cemetery on their property. On July 3, 1938, the Averys' remains were moved to the Texas State Cemetery in Austin. Source

30° 15.923, -097° 43.649

Republic Hill
Texas State Cemetery

October 25, 2016

J. Frank Wilson

   John Frank Wilson, singer, known as J. Frank Wilson, was born in Lufkin, Texas, on December 11, 1941. He was the son of a railroad engineer. Wilson became a one-hit wonder in the early 1960s when he was the lead singer of the hit song Last Kiss. He and the Cavaliers, his own band, recorded Wayne Cochran's teenage-death melodrama, which rose to the top of the American pop charts in 1964. The lugubrious song was the last exemplar of a genre that flourished in the early 1960s. Last Kiss remained on the charts for twelve weeks.

   Wilson had listened carefully to Buddy Holly and Elvis Presley. After graduating from Lufkin High School in 1960, he joined the United States Air Force and was stationed at Goodfellow Air Force Base, San Angelo. He joined the Cavaliers (guitarist Sid Holmes, bassist Lewis Elliott, saxophonist Bob Zeller, and drummer Ray Smith), a group that had formed in San Angelo in 1955; moved to Memphis in the early 1960s; and returned to San Angelo in 1962. Wilson enhanced the group's appeal and enlarged its audience. The Cavaliers and J. Frank Wilson became a popular attraction at area clubs.

   In 1962, at the Blue Note in Big Spring, record producer Sonley Roush heard Wilson and the Cavaliers perform. At Ron Newdoll's Accurate Sound Recording Company on Tyler Avenue in San Angelo, the group recorded Cochran's song. Newdoll and his production company, Askell Productions, produced the recording and acquired ownership of the masters, with royalties, in exchange for the group's right to use the studio. Major Bill Smith, a recording executive in Fort Worth who had released Bruce Channel's hit Hey! Baby and Paul & Paula's Hey Paula, signed Wilson and the Cavaliers to record the song on the Josie label. The record was released in June 1964, entered the charts on October 10, and reached Number 2 on the Billboard Top 40 charts on November 7. The album sold more than 100,000 copies the first few months. Wilson and the Cavaliers earned a gold record for Last Kiss.

   On October 22 Roush was killed in a car wreck in which Wilson was injured. The press whooped up the connection between the accident and the lyrics of Last Kiss, which is about a teen-aged girl who dies in the arms of her boyfriend after a car accident. Wilson was touring again within a week of the crash. On American Bandstand - and on crutches - he lip-synced Last Kiss and introduced a new single, Six Boys, produced by Smith with studio musicians. Wilson and Josie Records put together a new group under the name Cavaliers, although the original Cavaliers were continuing to perform with Lewis Elliott as leader and James Thomas as vocalist. Wilson recorded with session musicians. He continued as a single act, traveling with Jerry Lee, the Righteous Brothers, the Animals, and other well-known performers until he bottomed out from alcoholism.

   He made records and performed into the 1970s, but without much income or effect. On the tenth anniversary of the Last Kiss success, he was working in Lufkin as a nursing-home orderly for $250 a week. The depressed one-hit singer attempted marriage eight times and sank into alcohol addiction. Suffering from seizures and diabetes, he died in a nursing home in Lufkin on October 4, 1991, not long before his fiftieth birthday. In 1999 Last Kiss once again became a hit when the rock group Pearl Jam released its version, and in 2000, VH1 fans voted Last Kiss Number 3 in the all-time Top 10 cover songs. The song received a BMI 2-Million air-play award. J. Frank Wilson is honored in the West Texas Music Hall of Fame. Source 

31° 15.933, -094° 44.496

Last Supper Section
Garden of Memories

October 21, 2016

John N. O. Smith

   John N. O. Smith, soldier, state legislator, and newspaper publisher, was born in Massachusetts in 1815. Smith came to Texas prior to 1836. On February 1, 1836, he enlisted for service with Sam Houston’s forces in the Texas Revolution. He served as a sergeant major and participated in the battle of San Jacinto. He served until May 1, 1836. On April 12, 1838, Smith received a grant for one-third league of land in Harris County for his service in the revolution, but he lost his certificate and obtained a replacement certificate in 1840 and sold his headright certificate in 1845. Smith was also the original grantee for 320 acres of land in present-day Erath County in 1847.

   On April 24, 1842, he married Margaret Farrell. In September 1842 Smith was elected captain of a company for a new foray against Mexico - the Somervell expedition - but remained in Gonzales County due to illness. Around this time he settled in Houston, Harris County, and established himself in the newspaper business. In 1841 Smith published the Houstonian. From December 1843 to October 1844, he published a newspaper which was issued under several titles, including The Citizen, the Weekly Citizen, and the Texian Democrat. He was also president of the first Typographical Association of Texas.

   In 1846 Smith served as representative for Harris County in the House of the First Texas Legislature. He was a member of the Education Committee, Public Printing Committee, and several select committees, and he chaired the Select Committee on An act for the incorporation of all Lodges of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, of the State of Texas. Politically, Smith was a Democrat, his constituency consisting of “Farmers, Mechanics, and Working Men.” Smith died in Houston on May 5, 1851, and was buried in City Cemetery (now known as Founders’ Memorial Park) in Houston. Source 

Note: Unmarked. Founders Memorial Park, originally founded in 1836 as Houston's first city cemetery, was rapidly filled due to a yellow fever epidemic and closed to further burials around 1840. The cemetery became neglected over a period of time, often vandalized and was heavily damaged by the 1900 hurricane. In 1936, despite a massive clean up effort, a century of neglect had taken its toll. The vast majority of grave markers were either destroyed or missing and poor record keeping prevented locating individual graves. Several cenotaphs were placed in random areas throughout the park in honor of the more high-profile citizens buried there, but a great number of graves go unmarked to this day. John Smith's is one of them.


Founders Memorial Park

October 18, 2016

William Smith Herndon

   William Smith Herndon, legislator and Confederate soldier, was born in Rome, Georgia, on November 27, 1837, and in 1851 moved to Texas with his parents. In 1859 he graduated from McKenzie College, near Clarksville, after which he read law at Tyler and was admitted to the bar in 1860. On November 11 of that year he married Louise McKellar; they had eight children. At the outbreak of the Civil War Herndon was elected first lieutenant in Capt. W. F. Hamilton's company of Col. Joseph Bates's Thirteenth Texas Infantry; he eventually rose to the rank of captain. This regiment served coastal guard duty between Galveston and Matagorda through almost all of the war. After the war Herndon returned to Tyler, where he resumed his legal practice in partnership with Judge John C. Robertson and began to specialize in railroads. He served as counsel for a number of lines, on the board of the Tyler Tap line, and as vice president of the Kansas and Gulf Short Line Railroad. He was elected from the First Congressional District to the United States House of Representatives of the Forty-second Congress in 1871 in a closely contested election and served until 1875. He attended a number of Democratic national conventions and is said to have engineered the nomination of Winfield Scott Hancock for president at the Cincinnati, Ohio, convention in 1880. In 1892 Herndon was one of the leaders of the opposition to James S. Hogg. Herndon died in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on October 11, 1903, and is buried in Oakwood Cemetery, Tyler. Source 

32° 21.216, -095° 18.520

Oakwood Cemetery

October 14, 2016

John Edward Lewis

   John Edward Lewis, Republic of Texas Veteran, was born on October 3, 1808, to Joseph and Mary Lewis, one of three children. Lewis arrived in Texas in March 1834, where he settled in Stephen F. Austin's fourth colony, present-day Fayette County. At some point, Lewis returned to New York, because he married his wife, Anna Scott, of Albany.

   During Texas' fight for independence, Lewis fought with Captain William J.E. Heard's Company of Citizen Soldiers, where he participated in the Battle of San Jacinto. According to his service record, Lewis served in the army from February 28 to May 24, 1836. After the war, Lewis received 320 acres of land for his service, which he later sold. He received another 640 acres for taking part in the Battle of San Jacinto.

   In 1883, the Lewis family moved from Fayette County to Austin, where John, a member of the Texas Veterans Association, died on April 1, 1892. Anna died at age 84 on May 24, 1896. Together, John and Anna had 13 children: William, John, James, Jacob, Alfred, Lettie, Phebe, Emily, Mary, Annie, Nellie, Jesse, and Betty. After their deaths, Emily had her parents' remains moved to the Texas State Cemetery, where the State of Texas erected a monument over their grave.

30° 15.912, -097° 43.632

Republic Hill
Texas State Cemetery

October 11, 2016

George Washington Teel

   George Washington Teel (Teal), member of the Old Three Hundred, was born in Maryland on May 4, 1784, and was married in Missouri in 1823 to his second wife, Rebecca Johnson. He entered into Texas with the Stephen F. Austin colony in 1824, and on August 3, 1824, received title to a Spanish sitio of land in what is now Fort Bend County. After making some improvements to the land he transferred his title to Michael Turner. By December 22, 1824, Teel was in San Felipe, where he participated in the alcalde election, and by the fall of 1828 he was in the Ayish Bayou District, where he settled six miles west of what is now San Augustine. Sometime in the late 1820s he established a cotton gin in the vicinity of San Augustine. Teel fought in the battle of Nacogdoches, August 1-3, 1832, and was enrolled in Capt. William Kimbrough's company in the summer of 1836. Teel became a successful farmer and landowner. He took an active part in the early Methodist movement in the newly formed San Augustine Municipality. The noted Stevensons, preachers of the Louisiana circuit, held a meeting in Teel's home in 1835. He was selected as one of the fifteen trustees to form the board of the University of San Augustine. George Teel died on August 20, 1856, and his wife Rebecca died on August 10, 1866. They were buried in the family cemetery near their homesite. George Teel's will was probated in San Augustine County. In the early 1990s all that remained of the Teel family cemetery was parts of five broken monuments piled under a nearby tree. Source 

31° 32.243, - 094° 12.873

Teel Family Burying Ground
San Augustine

October 7, 2016

Elijah Votaw

   Elijah Votaw was born in Saint Louis County, Missouri, on February 1, 1817 and came to Texas via Arkansas with his parents in April, 1835. The Votaws settled early in what is now Grimes County. He served in the army from March 1 to July 1, 1836 and was wounded at San Jacinto while a member of Captain James Gillaspie's Company. Votaw moved often after he left the army, first settling in Oakville, then Cotulla where he remained until 1885 when he moved to San Antonio. He died there at his home on November 17, 1890 and buried in Odd Fellows Cemetery.

29° 25.315, -098° 28.168

Odd Fellows Cemetery
San Antonio